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Radical Innovation Barriers Analytical Essay


Radical innovation is a kind of disruptive innovation, which is connected with the creation of new products. The reason, for which they are disruptive, is that radical innovations bring new concepts that are supposed to alter the already established habits and values of the consumers.

They disrupt the existing foundations, on which firms build their success. Among the most significant barriers to radical innovations, there are knowledge sharing, or transfer, barriers (KSB). The literature on radical innovation barriers is vast but discusses mostly certain types of barriers. Such information is more of interest for the firms compared to the information on interpersonal communication.

The importance of studying the issue of radical innovations, and especially the barriers to them, is widely acknowledged. In the literature, the barriers are studied, in general, as well as they are categorised, identified, and understood. However, studies are mostly concentrated on one single barrier, offering deep insight into it. Such an approach has led to a fragmentary perception of the barriers to radical innovation (Sandberg & Aarikka-Stenroos 2014, p. 1293).

As M. Assink mentioned, in 1990-2004 the literature on radical innovation was demonstrating a tendency to devote more attention to successes rather than to failures (2006, p. 216). In 2006, C. Markides indicated a need for a new comprehensive definition of disruptive innovation (2006, p. 19).

Radical innovation barriers are believed to be dynamic and dependent on the type of the activity of a firm (Sandberg & Aarikka-Stenroos 2014, p. 1293). In general, radical innovations receive less attention compared to other forms of innovation (Story at al. 2014, p. 1271).

In the studies devoted to radical innovation barriers, a serious part belongs to the research on knowledge transfer barriers. Among the factors that define KSB, the literature names the following: “lack of decision making, lack of flexibility, lack of innovation and lack of competitiveness” (Sharma & Singh 2013, p. 1350021).

The literature on KSB studies such issues as the negative influence of KSB on innovation process (Sharma & Singh 2013, p. 1350020) and the difficulties of knowledge sharing between distant departments or individuals while performing innovations (Andreasian & Andreasian 2013, p. 9).

It is known that the success of a firm depends on how well its leaders establish the interconnections between working individuals (D’Este et al. 2011, p. 482). It is generally acknowledged that efficient knowledge sharing is a key to successful innovation (De Alwis & Hartmann 2008, p. 133). A transparent process of knowledge transfer ensures successful innovation (Seidler-de Alwis & Hartmann 2008, p. 141).

Despite the above-mentioned significance of effective interpersonal communication within an organization, this issue is not represented in an as high number of works as the problem of the classification of barriers. The reason is that, for a successful implementation of innovation policy, firms need to understand and distinguish all the types of obstacles on their way to success. The companies are interested in this information since it helps them to work out the ways to overcome the barriers (D’Este et al. 2011, p. 482).

To conclude, radical innovation barriers are well explored in literature but certain types of barriers are studied better than barriers in general. The researchers recognize the importance of knowledge transfer for the success of innovations. The amount of literature written on the types of barriers is larger than that about interpersonal communication and success due to the specific interest of the firms.

Reference List

Andreasian, G & Andreasian, M 2013, Knowledge sharing and knowledge transfer barriers: A case study. Master thesis, Linnaeus University.

Assink, M 2006, ‘Inhibitors of disruptive innovation capability: a conceptual model’, European Journal of Innovation Management, vol. 9, no. 2, pp. 215-233.

D’este, P, Iammarino, S, Savona, M & Von Tunzelmann, N 2012, ‘What hampers innovation? Revealed barriers versus deterring barriers’, Research Policy, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 482-488.

De Alwis, RS & Hartmann, E 2008, ‘The use of tacit knowledge within innovative companies: knowledge management in innovative enterprises’, Journal of Knowledge Management, vol. 12, no. 1, pp. 133-147.

Markides, C 2006, ‘Disruptive innovation: in need of better theory’, Journal of Product Innovation Management, vol. 23, no. 1, pp. 19-25.

Sandberg, B & Aarikka-Stenroos, L 2014, ‘What makes it so difficult? A systematic review on barriers to radical innovation’, Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 43, no. 7, pp. 1293-1305.

Sharma, BP & Singh, MD 2013, ‘Modeling the metrics of individual, organisational and technological knowledge sharing barriers: an analytical net­­work process approach’, Journal of Information & Knowledge Management, vol. 12, no. 3, pp. 1350018-1350033.

Story, VM, Daniels, K , Zolkiewski, J & Dainty ARJ 2014, ‘The barriers and consequences of radical innovations: Introduction to the issue’, Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 43, no. 8, pp. 1271-1277.

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